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Fishing Line

Thin ice

This extended cold front has placed a skin of ice on some inland ponds but nothing safe for ice anglers in or around the Western New York area.

Ice still holds on the main waters of Lake Simcoe, but melt-off along the shore voids safe access. Diehards in northern Minnesota still make runs for panfish ('gills and crappie), but most good panfish gear now ends up on longer rods cast from shore or from a boat to open waters.

Boat accesses to all major waterways remain ice-free. The continued chill has slowed the usual April panfish run, but trout trips can be fun.

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Trout stocking

Here is a listing of locations, counts and trout species the Randolph and Caledonia hatcheries will have in place for weekend anglers:

Allegany County: Brown trout -- Caneadea Creek (Rushford), 1,000; Rushford Lake (Caneadea), 3,440; Vandermark Creek (Scio, Ward), 1,010; Belmont Rod & Gun Club Pond (West Almond), 100; Chenunda Creek (Willing), 250; and Genesee River (Wellsville), 1,260.

Chautauqua County: Brown trout -- Canadaway Creek (Arkwright), 340; Bear Lake Outlet (Stockton), 760; Cassadaga Creek (Stockton), 250; Conewango Creek, West Branch (Villenova, 550; Farrington Highway Brook (Cherry Creek), 250; and Mill Creek (Gerry), 930. Two-year-old brown trout -- Canadaway Creek (Arkwright), 90; Canadaway Creek (Stockton), 180; and Mill Creek (Gerry), 90.

Erie County: Brown trout -- Little Buffalo Creek (Lancaster), 250, and Cazenovia Creek-East Branch (Emery Park), 420.

Wyoming County: Brown trout -- Oatka Creek (Warsaw), 1,430.

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Lake Ontario/Lower Nia.

Ice Boom ice will be moving through the lower river shortly, but boaters still have a good run at steelhead trout at Devils' Hole and many of the hot steelie spots down current.

Smelt dipping has been so-so, with most of the schools holding off the river mouth.

Boaters, even on days with ideal conditions along the Niagara Bar, hook only a few lake trout on drifts along the main current and around the bar edge.
Smelt schools, heavy in the area, provide lakers all the forage they need right now.

Dippers will have to hold off for a while until Boom ice passes though and the spawning run brings them up current to Lewiston Landing and the Artpark shoreline.

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Inland Lakes

Chautauqua: Crappies turned on before the cold front; mainly bluegills work weed edges.

Silver/Conesus/Honeoye: Channels and bays slowly draw 'gills and sunfish. Honeoye has shown best for crappie during recent cold snaps.

e-mail: willodrs@gmail.com

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